LEADERSHIP: AN ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE Dr. Ali Mohammad Jubran Saleh Department of Islamic Studies Faculty of Shari’ah Yarmouk University Jordan Paper presented at International Conference on Management from Islamic Perspectives (ICMIP), 15-16 May 2007, Kuala Lumpur Aims of the Paper • This paper aimed to identify the main • • features of leadership from an Islamic perspective. It is an attempt to contribute to the development and understanding of leadership in Islamic institutions. It will give a better understanding of organizational effectiveness and provide guidelines for managers of Islamic institutions in order to achieve their Islamic managerial objectives successfully. INTRODUCTION • Leadership in Islam is a responsibility and • • a trust that leaders feel when they deal with their followers. It is considered as a part of worshipping Allah (s.w.t). Leadership in Islam is to serve the members of the organization, the community and the society at large, that is, directing and guiding people to what is good in this world and the Hereafter. DEFINITION OF LEADERSHIP IN ISLAM • Ibn Taymiya defined wilaya as “maintaining the • • religion of the people such that, if it is lost, they will be the losers, and maintaining a life that will assist people to understand their religion” Al-Mawardi looked at Imamah in the context of “the guarding of the religion and life According to Ibn Khaldun, Khilafa means “to assist people to live in accordance with the Islamic rules as a guidance for their interests in this world and in the Hereafter. It is the vicegerent duty on behalf of Allah (s.w.t) to guard the religion and to manage life” DEFINITION OF LEADERSHIP IN ISLAM • Leadership is a guiding process more than a directing one. Leadership in this context could be the process of guiding and influencing the members of the organization so that they will display initiative and love for the work that they do as a kind of worship towards achieving the common objectives of the organization. By doing so, leaders and members will be able to attain happiness in both worlds. EARLY IDEAS ON ISLAMIC LEADERSHIP • Ibn Taymiyah stated the following necessary • characteristics for leaders to be able to lead. These are: trust, a strong personal character, to be qualified, to be experienced, adherence to Islamic commands and an ability to carry out responsibilities He emphasized that some leadership principles to be taken into consideration by government leaders. These are: responsibility, trust and Shura (consultation). EARLY IDEAS ON ISLAMIC LEADERSHIP, contd • Al-Mawardi addressed the leadership system of the government. He looked at the government as a leader of the society and organizer of its activities. • From a psychological point of view, al-Ghazali focused on studying the behavior of the Muslim leaders • Ibn Khaldun laid emphasis on the social aspects of leadership and organization. CONTEMPORARY IDEAS ON ISLAMIC LEADERSHIP • Until today, Muslim intellectuals have been unable to formalize an Islamic theory of leadership. • Till now, most of such attempts were not aimed at formulating an Islamic theory of leadership, but rather were trying to prove that Islam had sufficient resources to formulate such a theory. LEADERSHIP ROLES IN ISLAM A. THE VISIONARY LEADER • A Muslim leader is a forwardlooking person whose main concern is to achieve the vision of the planned future rather than just the daily objectives of the organization. B. THE SERVANT LEADER • Serving one’s people is one of the main roles of a Muslim leader. Leadership in this context, is not a matter of privilege or position. It is rather a huge responsibility. C. THE LEADER AS A GUIDE • A Muslim leader is but a guide who is concerned about his followers’ well being. His main concern is guiding them to what is good in the organization in life in general and in the Hereafter. D. THE INFLUENTIAL LEADER •A Muslim leader’s job is not only to serve and guide people but to bring about some changes for the betterment of their lives. E. THE EDUCATIVE LEADER • A Muslim leader is concerned about the enhancement of the potentials and capabilities of all members. Thus leadership is concerned with raising the members of the organization in a number of ways, especially: spiritually, academically, intellectually, psychologically, socially and professionally. LEADERSHIP STYLES IN ISLAM A. BROTHERHOOD LEADERSHIP • It is a style of leadership in which the leader and all the organization’s members are considered as a family. Followers feel that they are but brothers and sisters of each other before having any kind of organizational structure or position. B. COLLABORATIVE LEADERSHIP • It is an inner feeling in a person in which he or she recognizes that they are working as a team. Leaders will feel that they cannot work separately even if they are experts unless they cooperate with everybody in the organization. C. SHURATIC OR CONSULTATIVE LEADERSHIP • Whatever experience the leader has, his or her decision will be according to one person’s opinion. He or she will probably feel the need for others’ opinions and ideas before making any necessary decisions that might affect the members of the organization. D. SUPPORTIVE LEADERSHIP •Islamic leadership believes in the backing up of the members of the organization in their work. RECOMMENDATIONS • Muslim scholars should make great • • efforts towards investigating the concepts of Islamic leadership. Several ministries in Muslim nations, Muslim manager training institutions, Muslim leadership training institutions and authorities dealing with Muslim institutions should pay a great deal of attention towards understanding the concepts of Islamic leadership. Courses on leadership in universities, colleges and managers training institutions should focuss more on incorporating Islamic concepts of leadership. RECOMMENDATIONS, contd • Leaders, managers and other • • administrators should practice more clearly the Islamic way of leadership. Leaders should make a great effort to create a sound and healthy environment for their organization. Research centres and leadership institutions should organize more seminars, workshops and conferences in order to disseminate the concepts of leadership from an Islamic perspective. RECOMMENDATIONS, contd • • • • Muslim scholars who are well-versed in Western leadership should increase their efforts in doing comparative studies between the Islamic and Western philosophy of leadership. The five leadership roles and four leadership styles from an Islamic perspective that have been studied could be a guideline for selecting new leaders and managers for the Islamic organizations. Further studies are to be conducted in the Islamic institutions in Muslim countries. A comparative study between Islamic institutions and other ones could help us in understanding the unique aspects of the Islamic institutions and the main differences between both of them.
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